Antarctic Birds

Most animals living in the frozen wastelands are believed to be descendants of animals that lived there years ago, including birds. They most likely survived by isolating in areas that remained ice-free or where geothermal heat was released from the Earth’s crust.

About 60 species live in Antarctica, but only one of them – the Emperor Penguin – is endemic to the continent and is also the only penguin to breed there. Antarctica has no birds of prey, but skuas are known to prey on the chicks of penguins and other birds. Most of the birds living in the White Continent primarily feed on krill while supplementing the rest of their diets with fish, squid, and crustaceans.

Antarctic Birds

List of Antarctic Birds



  • Antarctic Petrel
  • Antarctic Prion
  • Antarctic Shag
  • Atlantic Petrel
  • Black-bellied Storm-petrel
  • Black-browed Albatross
  • Blue Petrel
  • Broad-billed Prion
  • Cape Petrel
  • Crozet Shag
  • Fairy Prion
  • Gray-backed Storm-petrel
  • Gray-headed Albatross
  • Gray Petrel
  • Great Shearwater
  • Kerguelen Petrel
  • Light-mantled Albatross
  • Mottled Petrel
  • Northern Giant-petrel
  • Southern Royal Albatross
  • Salvin’s Albatross
  • Salvin’s Prion
  • Short-tailed Shearwater
  • Slender-billed Prion
  • Snow Petrel
  • Soft-plumaged Petrel
  • Sooty Albatross
  • Sooty Shearwater
  • Southern Fulmar
  • Southern Giant-petrel
  • South Georgia Diving-petrel
  • South Georgia Shag
  • Wandering Albatross
  • White-capped Albatross
  • White-chinned Petrel
  • White-headed Petrel
  • Wilson’s Storm-petrel


  • Antarctic Tern
  • Arctic Tern
  • Brown Skua
  • Cattle Egret
  • Chilean Skua
  • Franklin’s Gull
  • Kelp Gull
  • Long-tailed Jaeger
  • Parasitic Jaeger
  • Pomarine Jaeger
  • Sabine’s Gull
  • Snowy Sheathbill
  • South Polar Skua
  • Upland Sandpiper


  • Yellow-billed Pintail


1. Which bird migrates from the Arctic to Antarctica?

The Arctic Tern has one of the longest annual migrations of any animal on Earth. Every year, Arctic Terns make a round journey of 18,641 miles from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle to breed before going back again.

2. Are there birding cruises in Antarctica?

Several cruises visit the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multiple smaller islands around it. It is a great way to see Antarctica’s avifauna and other forms of wildlife. Still, it is necessary to verify that these cruises are not harming the pristine environment of the continent as well as not disturbing the animals living there.

3. Did a giant bird live in Antarctica years ago?

Yes, scientists have unearthed a fossil of a pelagornithid, an ancient albatross-like creature that lived 50 million years ago. Paleontologists estimate that it had a wingspan reaching up to 20 feet and, based on its jaw structure, also possessed teeth.

Subscribe our newsletter

Enter your email here to stay updated with the animal kingdom